Lately I’ve been faced with something that I have no control over. Something that bothers me very much, yet there’s nothing I can do to change it. Maybe that’s the part that kills me the most, that I can’t do anything about it. Those situations are always the worst. When you see something happening that is wrong or hurting someone, and the only thing you can do is watch. It leaves the bitterest of tastes in your mouth, which seems to crawl down to the pit of your stomach and squirrel around until it drives you crazy with helplessness.
But helplessness isn’t the only emotion I feel toward the situation. I also feel anger, frustration, and mostly indifferent. Obviously, feeling indifference above all else is quite the stretch considering everything else I feel involving it. Maybe it’s just that I got so tired of the sadness I felt, and gave in to it. Or maybe it’s because I secretly harbor an immense amount of hope despite the circumstance. Either way, I prefer being indifferent. Not only does it free me from additional stress, I feel stronger facing it when I don’t feel such helplessness pulling me down.
Anyone who knows me, or reads my blog regularly, knows I am a single mom. I had my daughter almost 2 months after my 20th birthday. I’ve been a single mom ever since. She wasn’t born into a traditional family or to parents that were married or even loved each other. But that never bothered me. Because despite that, I knew she would be loved. I never believed in forcing a relationship for a child when the two adults can hardly stand each other. Or are even hardly adults, for that matter. So I was perfectly happy with calling myself a single mother. And still am.
A lot of my friends from school have children of their own now, too. Some even more than one. Some are still with the father, some married, engaged, or with new people. But all across the board, whether the parents get along or not, all the fathers stick by their children and love them dearly. Seeing them whenever possible, and complaining of heartache when they go without seeing them. They post hundreds of photos and brag about their awesome children. And even though most of them are still very young and immature, they seem to be good fathers. Present fathers.
When I see this, I feel a slight bit of envy for those women who’s “baby daddies” have stepped up to the parent plate. Rayne has not been so lucky.
Rayne’s father and I had a very rocky relationship. It was a roller coaster ride that I wish I could take back. But if I did that, I wouldn’t have my girl. So, I’m thankful for it for more than one reason. It gave me my life. Well, the light of my life at least. But above all else, it taught me.
Our relationship started out being based on lies. Lies that I was not aware of, of course. it was one of those things, those young-and-stupid things. I was young, naive. He was mixed up and damaged, on a path to damage others. He turned out to be the opposite of what I believed him to be in the start of things. I was used. Mentally and emotionally abused most of all. On and off for almost 2 years. He drug me through the worst times of my life. Then I got pregnant with Rayne.
I told him I was pregnant and his exact response was “You better not come after me for child support”. In that moment every feeling I had ever felt toward him, was lost. Every ounce of what I thought was love, turned to loathing. I no longer needed him, nor did I want him. Not around me, and not around my baby. He was an all around bad, nasty, mean spirited person. And that isn’t an exaggeration because of what I feel toward him, he really was not a very good human being.
I left him out of mostly everything. He didn’t want much to do with any of it. Until the day came for me to learn the gender of my growing child. I asked him to come along, he didn’t want to. He had never been to an appointment or an ultrasound, and he wasn’t planning on going. But I insisted, being the bossy forceful woman I am, trying to make him a father for my baby. The kind of father that goes to stuff like that. Because that’s what my baby deserved. So that morning, I went to his house, walked right in, burst into his bedroom to find him asleep. I woke him up and told him to get ready immediately because we had an appointment at 12:30 and he had better not make me late.
We walked into the ultrasound room, I laid atop the table. The usually cold gel had been warmed or something. That was nice. The woman doing the ultrasound started showing us all her little parts. Her tiny hands and feet, her forming face, and little lungs. I didn’t pay much mind to the three people (my mother, sister and Rayne’s father) standing to my left watching the screen with me. She asked if I’d like to know the gender. I said yes, of course. “It’s a baby girl”. “Yes! I knew it!”, I exclaimed. I did know it. I had a feeling. We left with pictures in hand. I could tell a difference in him afterward. It was more real to him now.
After Rayne was born he visited us quite a bit in the hospital. He even stayed most of the time. I had high hopes for the future. Then after we left the hospital and dropped him off at home, things became more real for me. I was taking care of a newborn, by myself, in the hottest days and nights of August. I was scared, confused, exhausted, in pain, and somewhat lost feeling. I struggled with feeding her. She wasn’t good at being breastfed. She cried a lot. And didn’t nap nearly as much as I thought she should. Days would go by without a word from her father. I would send tons of pictures to him, only for him to complain about them. So I stopped. His mother and sister would come and visit her. This irritated me for some reason. I felt extremely territorial whenever they were around. But I’d hoped he would tag along.
When Rayne turned 5 months old I started letting his mother take her to her house for a couple hours once every week or two. It was much harder than I had anticipated. The first time I watched her drive away, I walked back into the house to see my sisters sitting in my room. They looked at me and said, “Are you going to cry?”. “No!” I replied with a kick of attitude. About .5 seconds after saying it my hands jumped to my face and I started sobbing.
Over time it has gotten easier. After we moved closer to her father and his mother, and she’s gotten older, She’s allowed to stay over night, usually once a week. I still miss her like crazy but I allow it because I know it’s the only chance she has to see her father.
Although we live about 10-15 minutes away from him, he chooses not to see her. Yes, I said chooses. Because I believe that if he wanted to see her, he would. Of course he uses every excuse in the book. He works all the time, has too much to do, doesn’t have the gas. But you’d think he’d get 5 free minutes at least a week to come by or ask how she’s doing. But no. Even when she goes to his mother’s house, where he lives, he hardly spends time with her. He does pay child support every two weeks, which I am VERY appreciative for. But to me, a paycheck isn’t a father. He never comes over. He never even texts or calls me to ask how she is. He was never interested in her milestones or growth. He doesn’t know her favorite foods or shows. He doesn’t know how funny she is or how tough. He doesn’t know her at all.
Rayne has my personality almost to a tee. She only opens up and lets loose around people she knows very well. Her family. But if she isn’t use to someone, she’s quiet, well behaved, shy, and a Mamma’s girl. Unfortunately, she has yet to warm up to her father. In fact, I don’t even think she knows he’s her father. I refer to him as her daddy. But she hasn’t a clue what daddy means. Or what it should mean, at least.
If you think I’m exaggerating because of my dislike for him, I assure you that is not the case. My feelings toward him are completely irrelevant. Not even connected to his parenting in the least bit. The last time I actually had a conversation with him he said something that I think he probably wishes he hadn’t. He said on his days off, he literally sits in his room all day long, playing video games. I didn’t say anything because the conversation had been had so many times, it was a broken record. And he was deaf. But in my mind I was thinking, “You mean to tell me, on the one day you have free to see your daughter, you spend it playing video games?”
In a way it just confirmed my need to move on from the situation. To conclude it as “it is what it is”. But it still hurts my heart to see other children loved so much by their fathers, while mine goes without. She deserves the best father in the world. Someone to love her unconditionally. Someone to care for her. Someone to hold her when she is upset, to tell her it will be okay, to make her feel safe. A father that can play with her, be her friend, but chase boys off with a baseball bat. Of course I know I am capable of doing all these things on my own, and do the very best I can to fill every position. But growing up without my father has taught me that sometimes, a girl just needs a daddy. I’ve grown out of that need. But I wish I had one when I was young. Maybe I wouldn’t have gone through some of the terrible things I have gone through. If I had my daddy I sure as hell wouldn’t have been abused physically, mentally, and emotionally for at least 15 years of my life.
I look at my daughter and wonder why her father wouldn’t want to be around her every minute of the day. I’m not saying he doesn’t love her, because I’m sure he does. He just doesn’t show it. He isn’t the same nasty person he was before, but he isn’t anywhere near the father I would’ve picked for her. Or even someone I would allow her to hang around. But he is her father and he should play the part. But things are the way they are, and I’ve come to terms with it. I don’t even really blame him anymore. I’m just done with it. But I know when she’s older, and knows what a father is, it’ll return like a knife to the back. I never want her to feel as if she wasn’t good enough for him. Because truthfully, he isn’t good enough for her.
Maybe one day someone will come around who can fill that void. But I wont count on it. I know my job now is to fill the void myself as best I can. And that is what I intend to do for the rest of my life, if need be. Because I don’t want to feel sorry for myself, or her anymore. And I don’t ever want her to feel sorry for herself either. She has a lot of people who love her more than words can express. And a mother who would walk to the ends of the Earth just to put a smile on her face. With that, who needs a ‘father’?